High Rises are like large families where members face love, hate, meddling, and gossiping.
When the neighbor who was harassing her is found dead in the Jacuzzi, Alexa is a prime suspect. Can she count on her dear neighbors, including the delectable Italian, Dante, for help?
With too many skeletons in their own closets, would they save her or incriminate her?

NEIGHBORS and MORE     http://tinyurl.com/96bjqcm  10 5 stars reviews at Amazon.com

Alexa couldn’t tumble into bed with him and later regret her bout of lust for months. But she wanted a night in Dante’s arms. A night of love, not of lust. She’d had her share of lust-without-feelings with her ex.

A banging interrupted her. Dante spun toward the bedroom door. “What’s that?”

She stiffened. “Damn it.”

“Someone’s at your door.”

“I’ll get it and be right back.” She checked herself in the mirror and smoothed her hair. Another knock on the door grated on her nerves.

 “I bet it’s your ex.”

“Probably.” Her recent euphoria died as she remembered the turmoil brewing outside her little haven.

“You should tell him to stop barging in without an invitation.”

Why was Greg here, now? Couldn’t he ever let her enjoy a moment of happiness away from him? She wanted her moment. She wanted Dante. Why was she fighting her desire for the man of her dreams?

A quick look at him had her groaning. All male and handsome, he lusted for her and his scorching gaze promised to take her to heaven and back. “Please, hurry up. It’s not particularly exciting to imagine you with your ex.”

As if to confirm it, another knock pounded loudly. After closing her bedroom door, she rushed toward the living room.

“Coming,” she called between gritted teeth.

I hate you, Greg Partson.


Alexa skated to the front door and pulled it open while blocking the doorway.

“What took you so long?” The assessing gleam in Greg’s gray eyes turned suspicious as he peered above her shoulder and scanned the living room.

She frowned and mentally cursed her ex-husband’s lousy timing. Struggling to control her rising temper, she stabbed him with a stern look. “Why are you here?”

“I came to see if you were okay.” His voice oozed with saccharine sweetness. “And tell you—”

 “I’m fine.” Damn it, she was fine a few minutes ago, but he’d spoiled her mood at the worst possible moment. She plastered on a perfunctory smile and held herself rooted to block the entrance, her hands gripping the door and its frame. “Get to the point.”

“I just came to tell you a detective will meet us at eight in the conference room.”

“I’ll be there.”

“He’ll interview the condo owners who saw the deceased recently.” Greg leaned forward and grabbed her shoulders. “Was Steve Bairey here last night or today?” His breath blasted with alcohol fumes.

Alexa almost gagged. She tilted her chin, refusing to lie but hating Greg’s distrust. They may have been divorced for three years now, but her domineering ex-husband granted himself the right to keep tabs on her personal life.

Dante was in her bedroom getting impatient.

Could she push Greg out? Physically push him out with her fists and all her strength? How had she been able to withstand five long years married to the autocratic sleaze ball? She hissed and tried to bang the door shut, but he blocked it with his foot.

“Alexa, answer me, damn it.” His bellow made her jump. “Did Steve come today?”

“For heaven’s sake, why all these questions?” She tapped her foot, ready to kick it into Greg’s leg. Was he dense or what? He arched a suspicious eyebrow. Understanding dawned on her. “Oh my God, you thought I could have done something to ki... kill him? Is that why you’re bombarding me with questions?” Alexa rubbed her neck to soothe the lump in her throat.

“Well, I remembered you saying once you wanted to kill him for stalking you.”

promo opportunity

Posted by Patrice Wilton | 9:14 AM | 16 comments »

Hi everyone,
I would like to talk about Indie publishing and promo opportunities. Last week I had a book, ALL OF ME up on FreeBookFridays, and it took ten months before I could get a time slot, but it was well worth the wait. For one thing, it cost nothing except 5 hard copys of your book as a giveaway, and you have an entire week of exposure and I believe they send it to around 12,000 emails. I was notified a couple of days ago that my book had 900 responses, the second largest number for Indie books this year! Yeah!!! It resulted in nice sales but the exposure was priceless.

They are having a sale on right now, and I intend to sign up for the Deluxe package which means no wait period, your book cover on display for 3 months, and a week to promote your book. How good is that?

I know some other authors have had great success with promo such as donating a portion of each sale to a charity, and I would like to hear how this works. If anyone has some great marketing tips for Indie publishing, please feel free to share!

I'm all ears. Thanks, and keep writing, keep promoting, and keep selling!

All For The Love of A Big Black Dog

Posted by Mary Ricksen | 12:00 AM | 10 comments »

Onora head shot 5-29-04 13 mos old.JPG (129353 bytes)

Determination, that’s what it took, that and believing in the impossible.

We didn’t know about puppy mills when we saw him in the window of the local Pet Store at the
Mall. I must have stopped there five times and gone in to pick up that fluffy black puppy. He was a pure bread German Shepherd and he was adorable. I fretted when I saw others look at him, or have him taken out to play with. I had to have that baby dog.

We’d just lost our first German Shepherd, he was rescued from a place where his owner had died, and my heart had a hole in it only a baby doggie could fill. It took some talking to get my husband to agree to buy him. I don’t know what it was, but when I looked into those big golden brown eyes there was a connection. I knew he had to come home with me. My heart about burst when I held him in my arms. He smelled so good, like a baby of any kind usually does. Little dog kisses washed me face and I fell in love.

That night we had spaghetti for dinner and the little boy just tried to dive into a plate of it. I gave him a tiny piece of meatball and he attacked it. He chewed merrily through the evening on all of his new toys and rawhide strips. We had a great evening and he slept on the end of our bed. Little doggie breaths and grunts made us smile. My husband wanted to call him Blackie and though I had better names I let it be Blackie, just because he got me the dog.

Then morning came. The night and day difference scared me to death. The little fellow was so lethargic and I barely got him outside to go when the first bouts of diarrhea hit. What didn’t come out of that end came out of the other and he coughed a lot too. I freaked, so we rushed to the pet store and they sent us to a local veterinarian. He diagnosed kennel cough, gave us medicine and we went home feeling much better.

He didn’t improve and I brought him back to the vet again and again. His kennel cough turned into pneumonia and antibiotics were added. He didn’t eat at all and I tried every food I could think of.
He got even worse and finally the vet told me he had distemper. He suggested we put the puppy down, would give me another dog. Put him down! What! I had this little bundle of sweetness in my heart already. Put him down, not on my watch. So here’s what I was stuck with. Lots of medicines and something from the pharmacy called parapectolin. I had to sign for it but it was an over the counter medication at that time. It had a small amount of codeine in it and it kept the poor baby sleepy, but it stopped the runs. How could I get him to eat?

I went and bought baby food, there were several kinds of meat foods and I added water to them to thin them down. I used a large syringe to draw up the food and them I put the tip of it behind his back teeth in that little area dogs have back there. I forced syringe by syringe full of food down him mouth and gave him the other medications and carried him in and out to do his duty. He slept most of the time.

I cared for him for six months and then one day he tried to eat out of my plate. I bought dog food and for the first time in six months, he ate on his own. Eureka! Victory! He got better every day and he became a wonderful family member. He was a wonderful dog and we loved every minute of the ten years he lived.
He ended up to be a huge dog at 140 lbs. Black as night the only marking on him was a small white patch on his chest. What a beautiful and affectionate animal he turned into, he seemed grateful for every day of life. I was grateful for every day of his life and I will never stop missing him. Someday I hope to see him in heaven, I know he will make it there, I hope I do too!

So, to me the moral of the story is. Never say die!

Joanne--Deals of the Day

Posted by Josie | 9:04 AM | 6 comments »

Hi Everyone, I have some great deals to share again today: First is books, of course. Free on Amazon’s Kindle today is Bad Karma by J.D. Faver. Also free is See Me in Your Dreams by Patricia Rosemoor. Check out Discountmags.com for their $5.00 subscription sale on titles such as Good Housekeeping, Country Living, and Town and Country. And, at Cowboom.com, snag a pre-owned Kindle Fire tablet for $119.00 with coupon code B2S10. Free shipping is included. Enjoy! Favorite quote: "I can't afford to save any more money."

Joanne--Deals of the Day

Posted by Josie | 1:24 PM | 4 comments »

Hi Everyone, It's that time of the month--time for great deals! First, check out 6PM.com for up to 80% off in savings at their biggest yard sale ever! Save on backpacks, clothing, and many other items. In the Kindle store, enjoy a free read today: Wild Justice by Liz Fielding. How about an internet tablet featured at buy.com for $72.99 with free shipping, a regular $199.00 value? Enjoy! Favorite quote: "I can't afford to save any more money."

Jesse Kimmel-Freeman Says Vampires Bite!

Posted by Mary Marvella | 11:55 PM | 18 comments »

Ladies, we have a fun guest today. Please help me welcome  Jesse. She came all the way from Alabama to visit.

Hey everyone! Thank you Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers for having me. I always wonder what one should write for these things. In the end, I just end up rambling- a good way to get to know someone in my opinion. I'll try to avoid typos, but I just got a new keyboard because my 11 month old daughter felt the need to pull on the cord of the other one so much that it stopped working, but this new one is slightly smaller. Since it's smaller, it has totally thrown off my placement on the keys and the backspace key is the size of a regular key. Who does that? So many things have had numbers added to them because of some key I'm hitting on the keys next to the backspace. Yes, go ahead and laugh. I would.

Well, I suppose I should properly introduce myself. I'm Jesse Kimmel-Freeman. I've been an Indie writer since November 2011, when I decided to stop being a snob and self publish my book, Bella Notte. Yes, I will admit it, I was a snob and looked down on self-published authors. *Insert gasp here* It's true. We all learn things the hard way. Anyways, back to me. I originally from sunny Southern California. When my mom passed away, I packed up 25 years worth of stuff, threw it in storage and moved myself and family to a small town in Alabama. Now, wait, before you go wondering why anyone would do that, the answer is simple. Family. I wanted my son to continue to grow up with grandparents, and my hubby's family is here. I miss Los Angeles, but when we went back for a visit, I realized that living in a small town has ruined me for life. I can't handle the constant noise that accompanies living in the city. I now have a baby girl, and my 4 year old (I can't believe he is almost 5! And she's almost 1!) and we live in our own chaos.
I write young adult crossover books, paranormal romance, and illustrated children's books. I'm also working on a piratey book. Wow, I am a mess. It's hard to just write one thing. I have very vivid dreams and often that is where my ideas for books come from. Do you just dream about one thing? I hope not, that would be boring. I've just released the second book in my Bella Vampires Series. It's called Bella Vita (which means Beautiful Life, FYI). When I started writing that series, I had wanted it to be YA because I love reading it, but then I realized my characters would evolve past teens, so it became a crossover series. I'm working on the third one, Bella Tristezza (Beautiful Sadness). In case you're wondering, the first one is called Bella Notte (Beautiful Night).  Didn't I mention I ramble?

Anyways, I'm always looking for more people interested in my written worlds. Feel free to like me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/j.kimmelfreeman, follow me on Twitter  https://twitter.com/jkimmelf, or check out my blog sometime, there are a ton of blog hops I always seem to be a part of http://www.jessekimmelfreeman.com/blog.html.

One lucky commenter will get a digital copy of either BELLA NOTTE or DEAD TO BITES, so make sure you comment!

Bella Notte:
Vampires? Check. Werewolves? Check. Death prophecy to hang over your head? Double check. Seventeen year old Emma Hutchinson struggles to find her place in the world she has been born to as she tries to decide whether she should be with Michael, the boy she has been dreaming about since she was three or if she belongs with Dominic, her betrothed.

Dead to Bites:
*Note to the readers, this book contains some explicit content. Reader discretion is advised.*

Kat Purrowells is an occult anthropologist. She thought she would be teaching what she knew at a local college, instead she was roped into working for a secretive government agency, P.N.I., Paranormal Investigations. There are murders in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California, Kat has been sent in to try and help catch these supernatural killers, but will the cost be her life?

Oh, and here's a little excerpt from Bella Vita:


The sound of high heels clattering away on the cold cobbled ground echoed in my ears. I'm not wearing heels, why do I hear them? The clicking continued as I walked down a chilled darken alley. Being a vampire took the fear out of the dark, I was glad I was one now. Where am I? It's strange when you don't know where you are, and you feel like you're searching for something. But what? I walked on.
That was when I saw them. She was taller than me, blonde and thin, and he was tall and tanned. Mike? No, he just makes the world feel like Mike. The inner light clicked on. Werewolf! It wasn't a question at this point. I couldn't see their faces, but I knew she wasn't a wolf, I sent my mental probing out to her- she was a vampire. My thoughts swirled. Why is she with him?
When I heard her voice, I understood. It was Issy and her boyfriend. My childhood best friend and her werewolf love. But why am I here?
“Issy, what's going on?” I said out into the frosty night air.
They didn't respond. It was like I wasn't there. They walked ahead of me and turned down another dark alley. I realized we must be near a secret club or something, people just didn't walk down alleys for the heck of it.
Her scream pierced the night. I wanted to move faster, but it seemed like my feet were stuck in place. What was wrong? What happened? I really wished my internal dialogue would shut up when things got freaky. I finally made it to the corner.
The fine hairs that cover my pale body stood at attention right away. Issy was covered in blood- not just any blood, but his blood. Oh crap. I didn't know how I could help. I merely watched as she shrieked over the body of her dead love, covering herself in more and more of his blood. That was not a good idea because werewolf blood makes us ill, but she didn't seem to care.
I heard the footsteps and wanted to shout to her to run, to get away from him. But I couldn't, I had no voice in this realm or whatever it was. When they came, there were many of them. Their voices grew from concern to anger once they found her. I could see the violence behind their eyes.
“Run Isabella! Run for you damned life! GET UP, LET HIM GO!” I was shouting to deaf ears.
I watched her stand with her hands turned out, her face held defeat, and her eyes looked empty.
“Don't just give up! You didn't do it!” I knew it in my soul that this was not her doing.
Then the crowd rushed her...

I woke with a start as usual. Why did I've to have a new dream to destroy my sleep? Dominic was in the room as usual. Apparently, he heard my scream- yet again. I was crying for my friend, but I didn't know what to do. He reached out and held my hand as he wiped away the hot stinging tears.

So unfair to stop there! Ladies, don't forget to comment or ask Jesse a question! 

So my characters are having dinner, and I thought I should mention something about the food, seeing as the heroine’s presence is distracting the hero from a wonderful meal. I took out my trusty Mrs. Beeton’s. My parents gave me this book for Christmas when I was eighteen -- even then, two of my interests were obvious: history and food.

So after flipping through it for a while, I decided they’re going to eat baked carp, because the carp can come from the heroine’s father’s fish pond. As Mrs. Beeton (who in a short life in Victorian times had several children and wrote a massive tome) says, “the carp both grows and increases very fast, and is accounted the most valuable of all fish for the stocking of ponds.”  Perfect -- this gives the old man a topic of conversation when he wants to change the subject from… magic.  (Yes, this story has magic in it, just at little, at least so far.)

So while I was nosing through the fish section of Mrs. Beeton’s tome (such cool stuff -- Collared Eel! Fish and Oyster Pie!), I found a recipe for fish cakes. It’s a lot like what I do nowadays when making salmon patties. I won’t include her recipe here because it’s a lot more involved than making patties from canned fish, but one of these days I’ll try it, adapt it and blog about it.

Here’s the recipe for Salmon Patties.  

1 large can red salmon, drained, but conserve the liquid (You can use pink salmon, but red is much, much tastier.)
1 or 2 eggs
Italian bread crumbs
Spring onions, chopped fine

Mix all ingredients together, adding bread crumbs and conserved liquid until the mixture is the right consistency. Form into patties and pan fry in ¼” oil until heated through.

Sprinkle with lemon and eat with bread and salad. They’re also great eaten cold in a sandwich. Enjoy!

Welcome Barbara Barrett

Posted by Judy | 10:58 AM | 56 comments »

Good morning! I’m so excited that Barbara Barrett has agreed to join Pink Fuzzies for a morning chat. Her debut novel, The Sleepover Clause, a Crimson Romance, is an ebook that will be out and available through B&N, Amazon and iTunes on September 3rd. However it can be pre-ordered on Amazon today!! I’m hoping we can give her a good send-off!

Welcome, Barbara! Love the cover!

Barbara, like so many people, I’m curious to know why you decided to become a writer.

I tended to ignore the early signs that I was meant to be a writer. My fifth grade teacher singled out my writing. In sixth grade, an essay I wrote about my imaginary travels to France was printed in the local newspaper. I placed second in a national essay contest when I was fifteen. And I wrote a weekly column, “Teen Talk,” for that same paper, the Burlington Hawk-Eye, when I was in high school.

And after that?

Writing fiction helped me avoid a midlife crisis. Actually it was the character of a romance writer on a daytime drama that inspired me to consider this particular genre. If I’m being honest, it was the glamour and acclaim that had me writing those first words. A few thousand words later, the quest for glamour and acclaim had long faded, but along the way, I discovered my passion. Even though I liked my day job, I’d finally found what I was meant to do.  That drive kept me going for the next several years through numerous rejections, low contest scores and a bout with breast cancer. 

I probably would have given up after the first few years of writing, had I not joined Romance Writers of America and begun to learn my craft and more about the publishing business and gained the support of a huge network of writers fulfilling their dreams the same way.

And what else do you enjoy doing?

I’m a movie buff who still has aspirations of writing screenplays someday. My interests include interior design and cooking, so spare time is spent watching HGTV and the Food Network, when I’m not dabbling in those areas myself. Since moving to Florida, I’ve learned to play Mah Jongg and have recently introduced the game to my Iowa friends.

I’m so excited for you! Tell us about The Sleepover Clause.

The Sleepover Clause is the tale of an interior decorator who hides out in the Iowa town of Burlington while the ruckus caused by a job gone wrong on the West Coast dies down. She can’t resist meddling in the personal affairs of the three brothers who own the customized motor coach company where she has been sent to finish the interior of her sister’s touring coach. The younger brother, in particular, to whom she is attracted, needs prodding to tell his brothers how much he’d rather sit for the bar than work with on motor coaches. It’s only when her problems in California track her down that he considers returning to the lawbooks.

Just what is the Sleepover Clause? When the brothers make her to agree to a list of “conditions” for working in their garage, she retaliates with her own list of requirements, one of which is that they provide her with sleeping quarters for those nights when she has to stay late. Though she never intended to invoke the option, before long, she finds herself a “guest” in the firehouse cum garage, which is also the brothers’ living quarters.

Why Motor Coaches? To be truthful, I’d never thought much about them.

When a country music star brought her show to town, the reviewer on our local newspaper devoted part of his story to describing the motor coach that had been customized just for her. The article initiated one of those "what if's" in my brain, the kind that set the writer's mind percolating. What if I set a story in one of those rigs? Loved the idea but I still needed a hook.

About that same time, I became a fan of HGTV, especially the interior design shows. Somehow, the two thoughts married up and took me to another "what if": what if the star insisted on having her own interior designer finish the interior? And just to make things more interesting, what if said designer was claustrophobic?

And what if I set the story in my home state of Iowa and gave it a fish-out-of-water theme: an Angelino with attitude, who within four hours of her arrival in the Hawkeye state pronounces that Iowa sucks? I had great fun throwing her into one seeming catastrophe after another, threatening her with June bugs, an attack of mayflies, and being smoked out of a fire house.

Don’t miss this new book and author! The Sleepover Clause is a fun, fast-paced read with well-drawn characters written with a great insight into people. Barbara’s website is   www.Barbarabarrettbooks.com. Her email is Barbarabarrett747@gmail.com. She can also be found on Twitter: @bbarrettbooks.

My friend, Patrice Wilton, blogged about Writer's Block yesterday. Although I usually don't encounter that predicament while writing books, I've certainly been struck with this bug when dealing with blogs. I have been looking for something interesting to share with you for the last four hours! I've even looked into the huge book--bigger than a big dictionary--that I gave my Dad for Christmas some twenty-years ago. The book is 1350 page thick. My Dad loved it and read it all. My mother gave it back to me after Dad's death, and I kept it preciously. I will pass it on to my son who loves reading as much as I do.

 This book is called "Chronicle of the Twentieth Century". There's never been anything like that. It reports the major events of the world history starting on January 1900. Each page is written in the format of a newspaper page, with pictures and small reports. I started looking for something interesting to tell you, and I forgot myself reading and reading about major events for hours.

Did you know that the founder of McDonald's Ray Kroc was a former piano player and salesman of paper cups and milkshake? At the age of 52, Kroc started his first McDonald's in Chicago in 1955. He built a hamburger empire by purveying small beef patties that changed American eating habits. When he died at 81 in 1984, his personal fortune was estimated at more than $500,000 million and the McDonald's chain reported $8 billion at the time of his death.

It's never too late to become famous!

Think of an idea, execute it, work hard on improving it, promote it, and persevere.

Is producing bestselling books more difficult than cooking hamburgers!

Help me promote my latest book with a good review.

NEIGHBORS AND MORE is a romantic suspense, and the first book of the High Rise Series.

High Rises are like large families where members face love, hate, meddling, and gossiping. When the neighbor who was harassing her is found dead in the Jacuzzi, Alexa is a prime suspect. Can she count on her dear neighbors, including the delectable Italian, Dante, for help? With too many skeletons in their own closets, would they save her or incriminate her?

Writer's Block

Posted by Patrice Wilton | 8:29 AM | 9 comments »

Good morning everyone,
What do you do when your life is on hold? That's my question today. As many of you know I have been rewriting my first novel in the "returning war hero" series, for the past four months. I have interest from a publishing house, who may or may not by the 3 book series, and so I'm jumping through hoops to make the editor happy, jumping up and down, shouting YES, that's it! You've done all that I've asked and now you will be rewarded. My first attempt was met with limited success - I did a great job in bringing the romance forward, yada, yada, but it still doesn't have the magic spark and the hero and heroine still get along too well right from the getgo. So, I did it again, and then just before sending it in, I had another idea, and rewrote it for the third time.
Now, I'm sitting and waiting, and wondering if all my dreams will come true or be brutally crushed.
While I'm waiting I have gone back to writing, and I'm working on another Candy Book story, the third in the successful series. I had written 200 pages before I was dangled with the carrot, but I'm feeling flat and it's hard to really get enthused, you know what I mean?
What do you all do when it's hard to write, to be creative, because all that positive energy is on hold?

Anyway - I thought I might give you the first couple of pages of the book I'm working on, a romantic comedy, another follow up to Replacing Barnie. Honest comments will be appreciated. I can't decide if it's stupid or cute! lol.


If I had to describe myself in one word, I’d say survivor. I could also add resilient, stubborn, tenacious, feisty, and a whole slew of other words, but you get my point. If a tornado came my way, I’d probably swallow it whole and spit the damn thing out. That’s me-Fran Sherman, like a tank and just as indestructible.

So why am I acting more like the cowardly lion, afraid to go onstage and sing in front of a small crowd? It’s not like I’m performing at the Grammies or the Super Bowl, competing for attention with a zillion clever ads. I’m at my favorite hang-out, the Candy Bar in South Beach, Florida, which is owned by my very good friend. It’s not my first time singing here, I’ve filled in a few times and even broke a guitar over some lead singer’s head. He deserved it too—the guy was being a real A-hole, and Candy had ordered him to pack up and leave. When he didn’t comply, I settled the matter quickly—ended up singing to a cheering crowd too.

“Hey, Fran.” Brett put a hand on my elbow and steered me forward. “Go on up there. Candy’s been trying to get your attention.”

Brett Hamilton is a hunky fire fighter engaged to my dear friend Susie. He’s here for his stag party, which means that Susie couldn’t come tonight. As much as I adore Brett, I’d rather have Susie’s support instead.

Of course, I’d never let him know that, so I gave his arm a squeeze and whispered, “I know she has but I’m taking a moment. I need to calm down.” Nervously, I ran my damp palms down the side of hips and took a couple of deep breaths.

“That’s not like you,” Brett said. “You’re fearless.” His warm brown eyes settled on mine. “Fearless Fran.”

I smiled, liking that new name for myself. “Thanks, Brett.”

One of Brett’s friends joined us, handing Brett a very large beer. He introduced himself as John Hanley, the fire chief, and offered to buy me a drink.

“I wish I could, but I’m singing in a minute.” I glanced at Candy standing on the stage, dressed in a leather vest and skinny jeans, wearing her trademark cowboy boots and straw hat. She beckoned me forward. “I’ve got to go.”

“You’re looking awfully flushed, and your cheeks are purple. Maybe you should sit down a second,” John said to me.

I put my hand up to my cheeks and they were flaming hot. Perhaps I was coming down with something. I might have the pox or something else as highly contagious. It might be better for everyone if I just hightailed it out of there.

I knew I couldn’t. Candy’s one of the biggest hearted, best friends a gal could ever hope for, and I couldn’t run out on her, even if I wanted.

“We have a wonderful new talent tonight,” Candy shouted. “Welcome Frannie May, who is making her debut here before going on to win American Idol.” Candy grinned and waved me forward. “She’s being a little shy tonight. Let’s give her a warm welcome, please.”

I tossed my head back and marched up to the stage. So what if they don’t like me and I get booed off stage. I’ve survived far worse in my life. A helicopter crash, the loss of my baby, cancer. This is nothing in the big picture of life. Right?

Wrong. I need this gig. I need the money. And that really sucks the big one. I don’t like needing people or things, or favors of any kind. I prefer to think I’m an independent, invincible, self-reliant force of nature. But tonight, I feel vulnerable, as though something out of my control just might get the better of me.

A few people clapped, but most continued drinking and chatting amongst themselves, never glancing towards the stage or me. The fact that no one cared was hugely reassuring.

I’d lived half of my life invisible, simply floating in the background, aware of everything going on around me, not asserting myself or becoming emotionally invested. I could easily do that tonight--just sing a few songs and go back to drinking with my pals.

I don’t have a lot of friends but the ones I do have are extremely special, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

Susie’s an artist and does amazing murals for children’s hospitals. She was a screwball before she found her way, dancing from one disastrous career choice to another. I mean, she was a party entertainer and showed up as a bumblebee for some kid’s birthday, for heaven’s sake. Then she went to Italy to study art and found some missing piece of herself, among other things.

Candy, well, Candy is like the coolest person on the planet. She is a single mom, looks like a centerfold, and owns this bar, the hottest most happening place in South Beach.

Lydia is one of the smartest divorce attorney’s in the state. She’s from a big Catholic family, an only daughter, and still single at forty. Because of her profession, she only saw broken marriages, not the good ones, and thought marriage was only for suckers and romantics, which luckily kept her in business. Then she got knocked up one night at the Candy Bar, and her career took a rocky path, soon changing her opinion.

Stepping up to Candy, I took the mic from her outstretched hands. “Hey, everybody. I’m so glad to be here tonight, and I know you are too. Isn’t this the best bar in South Beach?”

Everyone cheered, and I winked at Candy. “Well, kick back and enjoy yourselves while I entertain you with a few songs.”

A late summer excerpt from my nonfiction book,  Shenandoah Watercolors, a 2012 Epic eBook finalist. Free in Amazon Kindle from August 19th through the 21st.
We’ve had many misty starts to the day this August. Haze hugs the pond, parting just enough to reveal the long-legged blue heron fishing for his breakfast. There’s a country saying about the number of foggy mornings in August being an indicator for the amount of snows we’ll have this winter––a heap, at this rate.
Dozens of swallows skim over the pond as the sun sinks below the Alleghenies. If I were standing on a distant ridge, would it sink behind me, or the ridge beyond that one?
The water is calm now but was awash with waves during the storm that hit a short time ago. The grassy hill and maple tree are reflected on the surface, silvery and streaked with rose from the western sky. All is peaceful as a soft twilight settles over the valley. Utterly idyllic, until I pause to consider what all of those swallows are after. There must be clouds of mosquitoes.
Here’s another thought, where do all the birds spend the night? Are the woods up on the hill lined with birds perched wing to wing jostling for space on the branches? I’ll bet they make room for the big red-tailed hawk. He gets the whole tree––as many as he wants. It’s good to be king.
**Image of our pond taken by my mom, Pat Churchman
**Image of Hawk by daughter Elise taken up in the meadow behind our house

Seized By Darkness

Posted by Autumn Jordon | 1:35 AM | 17 comments »

My name is Nicole. It is not Katrina. That is the name Gorgon Novokoff calls me. I’m a victim. I’m also a survivor. I never thought I could kill someone but…
For eight long years, the monster controlled me. Owned me.

He told me over and over, that I was his, I would not escape and I would never be loved by another man. I wouldn’t let myself believe him. I couldn’t if I ever wanted to see my family again.

I bore him a son. Let me tell you there is nothing stronger than a lioness protecting her cub. It was that instinct that caused me to kill. Or so I thought.

I’m team leader for the U.S. Marshal’s C.U.F.F. unit, William Haus. Looking for revenge on behalf of a childhood friend, I won’t stop until I take down every human trafficking scumbag. Gorgon Novokoff and his family top my wanted list, operating right here in northeast USA.

Every man and woman who work for the Russian Mafia family I consider lower the snake’s belly, including Katrina, Gorgon’s mistress. They say the devil is beautiful. His mistress is doubly so. I’m worried. Why? Because I'm drawn to her.

Hello. I'm Autumn Jordon, the author of SEIZED BY DARKNESS.

The idea for this story came to me years ago when I walked into my local post office and on the bullentin board saw tucked among the flyers for church socials and postal information a poster of a missing young girl, age 16. Her smiling eyes haunted me. I wondered wherever she was, did she still smile? I swear I could actually feel her strength. I prayed the girl whose picture I saw survived her ordeal and was returned safely to her family. I knew right then I had to write a story about a kidnapped victim and my muse went on its way. Of course, I write romance, so the victim had to grow up and there needed to be a hero. I think Will is the perfect match for Nicole. I think you will too.

SEIZED BY DARKNESS is now available on Amazon and B&N in both paperback and digital download. I hope you’ll follow the links and read more about the story and enjoy the sample.

GIVE AWAY!!! Leave me a thoughts after reading the blog with your email addie and be entered into the contest. Up for grabs, one digital copy of SEIZED BY DARKNESS from Amazon or B&N. I'll announce the winner here tomorrow at noon EST.

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Join my newsletter @ www.autumnjordon.com and enter my contest to be a character in my next book. Winner will be selected on September 20th, 2012. Read my July 18th, newsflash for details.

Why does a writer suddenly get an idea for a specific novel?  A difficult question to answer, because it subconsciously occurs on many levels.  I’ve no idea why I decided to write a novel about the South of the 1970’s, and especially one involving anything to do with Vietnam.  Even if it was a time I lived through as someone just out of college and observing it all (a total stranger actually proposed to me in the hopes I'd accept and he'd get a draft deferment as a married man), I don’t think I was at all interested in what was happening or seeing it as monumental in the general scheme of things, at least not at the time.

Truthfully, the thought of Vietnam and its unpleasant aftermath for many returning vets was a repulsive idea, as was the pain and loss I felt for those I knew who hadn’t returned.  Even today, I don’t discuss this era unless forced.  However, in the 1990’s, I suddenly found myself inspired to write this novel.  I didn't want to.  Knowing from past experience that the characters and the plot weren’t going to let me alone, I gave in, sat down and proceeded to do just that.

Jericho Road was the result.

The 1970’s were a time of change, especially in the South.  As I said, I watched from the sidelines.  I myself didn’t do anything so drastic during that period, except for three things.  I married and gave birth to my only child.  To me, that wasn’t so much drastic as a miracle.  Also, I was involved in the auto accident which diverted my life from its expected path and put me on the road to become a writer.  That was done out of necessity.

The characters in my new book are more or less guided to their destinies by an unrelenting and sometimes cruel Fate.

Wade Hampton Conyers IV is a returning Vietnam vet.  His family proclaims him a “hero,” but Wade would just like to bury the entire last four years and forget them…if he could.  Newly married, his experiences in the war now haunt him and his relationship with an African-American soldier who died saving his life cause a rift between him and his socialite bride who is unable to understand why the man she loves suddenly becomes a stranger. 

His younger brother, Heath is trying to fit himself into the newly-evolving world where nothing seems to make sense anymore.  Heath is a silent rebel, planning what he’s going to do when he hits 21 but telling no one, not even his best friend.  He's a virgin, eager to become a man.  What happens to him isn’t something he ever dreamed of and certainly nothing he planned.

Wade’s sister Lindsey was a typical Southern belle until her date decided to drink and drive and they both ended up in Temple General Hospital’s emergency room where she’s tended by new resident Dr. Logan Redhawk.  Son of a Mohawk artist and a local girl who went North to school, Logan is an anomaly in more ways than one.  Not particularly liking white women because he’s often been “used” by them, he’s attracted to Lindsey immediately and soon, the sparks fly.  When he meets Lindsey’s father, even more sparks ignite, but of a different kind, because Wade Hampton Conyers III is a dyed-in-the-wool “Old South” bigot and he’s as unhappy as can be because his daughter dares date a man who’s biracial…and a Yankee to boot!

Oddly enough—or perhaps not so, considering the changing world into which they’re now thrust—neither Heath now Wade see anything wrong in Logan’s bicultural, double heritage. 

Eventually, of course, the three men find themselves on a collision course as Logan’s presence strips away the mask of Southern gentility and reveals a hidden whirlpool of adultery, bigotry, and eventually murder.

Setting a story during a certain period takes more than just saying, “This is when it happened…”  Though I lived in the era I was writing about, I admit my memory had dimmed a bit in the intervening years, so I did a tremendous amount of research, ranging from what the army slang term for a helicopter was to whether a specific song was released that year.  I went over dates for events to be certain I wasn’t writing about something happening either before or after the time of the story.  I wanted everything to be as authentic as I could get it and not simply claiming to be set in that time with nothing substantiating it.  At that point, I wasn’t really into the Internet, so I spent days at the local library poring through histories, timeline books, and pictorial documentaries. 

I will admit to throwing in a little “personal” information.  Lindsey’s MG Magnette was mine.  Heath’s problems with his MG were also ones I’d had, because foreign cars weren’t all that well-known in my home town during that period.  In fact, I was only one of two people in town to own an MG, and when the clutch needed replacing, I had to write to London to get a mechanic’s manual (and then translate the British terms).  Nevertheless, the mechanic put it in backwards because he’d never seen such a car before!  I also patterned Lindsey’s choice of clothing after my own, and some of the outfits she wears were some I myself had worn.

Jericho Road is a bit of history, Southern in nature because that’s where it’s set, but also universal in the emotions its inhabitants experience.  It's authored by my pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone.  The real Icy Snow lived during that period, so I think putting her name on the book is only appropriate.


There were two framed photographs on the tabletop and she picked up one. “Who’s this?”
It showed a dark man with an impassive, lined face framed by a pair of long braids. He was dressed in a tightly buttoned suit with a high, starched collar, and looked very stern and uncomfortable.
Logan took the picture from her, studying it a moment before replacing it beside the other. “John Red Hawk. My grandfather. First one in his family to attend any kind of institute of higher education, an art school. He’s an original American Success Story. And these…” He nodded at the other photograph, which showed a tall, smiling man, his long unbound hair blown by the wind against the throat of the brilliantly blond woman whose arms were around his waist.  “Are my parents, Richard and Carleen. Dad was the one who ran the name together and made it one word.”
He picked up the photograph, looking at it with affection. “He was a friend of Uncle Sam’s, one of his students, in fact. When Mom came to New York to go to school, Uncle Sam wrote Dad and asked him to look her up. Guess he kind of played long-distance Cupid. Dad’s an artist, too.” He returned the picture to the sideboard. “Landscapes, mostly.” He gestured at the painting over the cabinet. “He did that.” In the lower right-hand corner in large precise lettering was the name Redhawk and directly under it the stylized figure of a bird in flight. “They live in an artist’s colony in northwestern New York. Place called Nissekequoqua Village.”
Lindsey studied the two faces in the photograph. Slowly, she touched one finger to his father’s sweep of dark hair. “You look like him,” she decided. “Except for the hair, of course.”
Logan smiled. He didn’t tell her that until he’d entered medical school, he’d worn his hair in two waist-length braids. His first-year roommate had been the most totally conservative, uptight, anal-retentive white man in captivity, and the long hair had been a bone of contention between them. One morning, he’d awakened to find his hair swinging about his ears and the controversial braids burning in the bathroom sink. His roomie thought he was actually going to be scalped before their suite-mates got Logan under control. He’d worn his hair short ever since, a concession to the white man’s world of acceptance.
“I’ve got a sister who’s a teacher in Auburn, New York, and a brother who lives across the border in Canada. He’s a guide.” Both were married to fellow Mohawks, neither feeling any need to try to enter the other world, nor understanding their younger brother’s striving for a balance of both.
“How’d your mother feel about you coming down here?”
“Typically mother-like. Worried, of course. Wrote Uncle Sam and asked him to look out for me. As if he’d be any help, living sixty miles away in Brunswick.”
“And your father?”
“Dad sees it as a rite of passage. A test of manhood. If I can survive here, I can make it anywhere.”
Lindsey looked up at him. “Is it true your mother’s folks don’t speak to her just because she married an Indian?”
“Of course not, and it’s Native American,” he corrected. “Not Indian.”
“What’s the difference?” She frowned and he thought it the most endearing little expression he’d ever seen.
“A lot. Indians are from India. The people of the Six Nations aren’t.”
“The Six Nations. Is that what they call themselves?”
“That’s what we call ourselves. We’re the Kanienhehaka.” He expected her to make some other comment, about his siding himself with just one people when he was part of both, but she didn’t.
Instead, she shrugged and looked at the photo again and said, “Well, I think it’d be a stupid way to act. Why, I’d be proud if someone in my family married an Ind--a Native American. Or if I were mar…” She stopped and looked up at him and blushed slightly, “I mean…” and stopped again.
Neither of them said anything, just stood there, looking at each other.
Logan was standing too close to her, and knew he ought to move away. He could see the quick rise and fall of the tiny breasts, realized one hand was even with her hip. He looked down at her, thinking how utterly small and innocent she looked. And white.
“Well?” Lindsey said softly. “Aren’t you going to kiss me?” Logan didn’t move. “You’ve been wanting to do it for about three hours now, haven’t you?”
Logan shook his head. “Four.”
He put his arms around her, pulling her slight body against his, almost lifting her off the floor. He felt her rise onto tiptoe and waver toward him before she regained her balance and then the slender arms were around his neck and she was pressing against him, mouth touching his in a very childish, very chaste closed-lip kiss.
He pulled away long enough to mutter, “Lindsey, maybe we’d better…” and she touched his cheek and whispered, “Shh,” and he kissed her again, thrusting his tongue against her lips, feeling them part and welcome his invasion eagerly. One hand moved to touch one tiny breast, feeling the nipple quiver into tautness against his fingers. She made a little protesting sound and raised her hand to push against his wrist but as it met resistance let it drop again. Logan’s fingers encircled the soft little mound.
He couldn’t know what she was thinking, that abruptly Lindsey realized that here was a man and not one of those silly awkward boys who were all gropings and heavy breathing. Here was someone who knew exactly what he was doing and what he wanted and frighteningly, he wanted her. She knew she ought to stop him. She could stop him with one word, but his hands felt so good touching her, making hot little shivers generate inside her in places she’d never felt them before.
Just a little longer. I’ll let him touch me just a little longer and then I’ll tell him to stop. But she never said the words, not even when Logan picked her up and without taking his mouth from hers, carried her into the bedroom.

(Jericho Road will be released by Class Act Books, www.classactbooks.com, this month.)